Today I am going to share with you two recipes, each one, from my favorite cookbooks of the moment: Dishing Up Vermont: 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State and Nourishing Traditions . First I must apologize for the lack of “finished product” pictures. We were so hungry, and it smelled so good, that we forgot to take any pictures of the plated dishes!!!
Even though it is still in the high 80′s and 90′s here in Florida (and we have been dealing with a broken AC for almost a week), we did have a few cooler days in the past few weeks. My internal clock is abuzz with massive autumnal cravings, so on those days I know I have to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to cook up some delicious fall fare. This is my absolute favorite time of year to cook!
As my internal clock made the shift from summer to autumn, I began searching through my favorite cookbooks looking for inspirational meals, that are on the cusp of the seasons. This Maple Glazed Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Puree, definitely fit the bill. Roasted chickens and maple always remind me of fall in New England, whereas the lemon adds a summery note. I also opted for a creamy Fennel Soup – fennel has a bright anise note, yet it is also a bulb, which reminds me of hearty autumn foods.
Both dishes were quite easy to make. I decided to forego the method for the chicken in the cookbook, and instead roast it up in my tagine. If you don’t have a tagine, you can certainly use a cast iron dutch oven, or heavy roasting pan. As a last resort, you could even use a baking dish. I took a short cut with the method because I didn’t have a lot of time to brine the bird, and do all the pan sauteeing and oven baking that recipe required. Plus the tagine has never failed me when it comes to roasting chickens. Although I will be making this dish again, and according to the recipe at some point, because the flavors were outstanding – sweet, tart and garlicky, all noticeable in their own right, yet completely perfect in unison. Plus the cooking methods in the original recipe, sounds really good, so I am sure it will be excellent!
The fennel soup was also delicious. A simple combination of fennel, leeks and potatoes blended together to make a super creamy dish – without cream. I used some of the chicken stock I made a few weeks back as the base. It was really delicious. We enjoyed it for lunches for several days last week as well. With no AC I even had it several times cold, and it was really quite nice.
Maple Glazed Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Puree
Recipe adapted from Dishing Up Vermont
2 garlic heads
olive oil for drizzling
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 TBS fresh sage
pinch of crushed chili pepper
1 (3 lb) chicken
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS pure maple syrup (preferably from Vermont!)
fresh cracked pepper
a few spare potatoes (optional)
white wine (optional)
Prepare the puree. First, preheat the oven to 450F. Cut the tops off the garlic heads, and drizzle exposed tops with olive oil, 2 TBS of lemon juice – then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap heads in foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and let cool sightly.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor. Be careful not to let any of the papery skin drop in. Add the fresh sage, crushed chili pepper, maple syrup, remaining 2 TBS of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and puree.
Wash the chicken and lift the breast skin away from the meat. With your fingers, spread 1/3 of the puree in between the skin and the meat. Then rub the remaining puree all over the outside of the bird.
I knew this sauce was going to be crazy good, so I chopped a few fingerling potatoes to place under the bird in the tagine. This was a good call, because those potatoes were some of the best I have ever had!
Cook bird in tagine (or cast iron dutch oven, or heavy roasting pan or baking dish) for about 2 hours. Check every half hour for dryness. If needed, splash bird with some white wine (if using a glass baking dish, make sure the wine is room temp, or else you might have an explosion on your hands!).
Recipe Adapted from Nourishing Traditions
3 fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced (make sure you thoroughly wash the leeks – they are famous for hoarding sand and dirt)
2 TBS fresh cultured butter
2 TBS olive oil
½ cup white wine (optional)
4 cups chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 medium red potatoes, cut into quarters
fresh cracked pepper
Cook fennel and leeks in butter and olive oil until tender. Add stock and optional wine. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes, crushed pepper and garlic. Cover and simmer until potatoes are soft – about a ½ hour.
Puree soup with a hand held blender, or using your food processor. You can puree it all, or leave some vegetables whole for texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.